Late Romanesque standing altar figure of the Virgin Mary

12th century

W 6" × H 23" × D 5.25"

Stock # Marh108


More information

Late Romanesque standing altar figure of the Virgin Mary, France, Midi-Pyrénées, possibly Moissac, late twelfth-century. Poplar, with remains of probably original polychrome on a linen and gypsum ground. The frontal posture, rigid but nonetheless beautiful facial features, and simple, linear form of the drapery place this figure’s in a late-Romanesque artisanal milieu. The use of poplar and the alternating folds of drapery that cascade from the sides of the Virgin’s mantel are indicative of figurative sculpture in the Midi-Pyrénées. This of confirmed by the fact that the figure was recovered in Moissac, the location of the Romanesque abbey church of Saint Pierre (a UNESCO World Heritage site). The drapery and facial features of the Virgin relate substantially to the late twelfth-century reliefs carved on the interior walls of the porch at the abbey church. The figure appears to have been located on a side-altar and was used to burn incence. There is ancient heat distortion to the surface and a whole bored in the surviving hand (the other is burned down to a stub) likely held sticks of incense.